This week Texas opened up completely.
Instead of mandates and capacity limits placed on businesses, Texas Governor Greg Abbott decided to give power back to the people. Businesses are free to set their own policies in terms of mask requirements and social distancing guidelines, but they are no longer being forced to comply with state rules.
In other words, the government of Texas is treating adults like adults. A novel concept these days…The truth is self-governance is the foundation of a free society. We don’t need government micromanaging our lives. What is happening in Texas is what freedom looks like. Unfortunately, freedom has been in short supply – especially in states like Illinois.
As COVID-19 cases continue to drop and more people get the vaccine, we need to take a hard look at the policies we have in Illinois and restore freedom back to the people.
This week’s newsletter highlights the impact of no conventions being allowed in Illinois; efforts to make the Legislative Inspector General more independent; and how vacant state properties are costing taxpayers.
As always if you have any questions, feel free to email me or call my office at 217-774-1306.
Illinois losing revenue from conventions due to strict lockdown rules
Chicago is the nation’s third largest city and is historically a destination for a wide variety of conventions and conferences. While the pandemic has certainly slowed in person conventions, there are signs of life as more and more groups and associations are moving forward with in person gatherings.
Unfortunately, the 50-person rule for gatherings has ensured Illinois is not a destination for conventions. Hotels generate about $8 billion in tax revenue for the state and local communities and much of that income comes from conventions and conferences. Without that revenue, each household would have to come up with $1,600 to make up the gap.
According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security the hospitality industry has lost 193,400 jobs during the past year – a 31 percent decline. It is time to address the impact these lockdowns are having on our economy. We need a clear path to normalcy – not the carnival barking of an inept plutocrat bitterly clinging to the vast emergency powers he refuses to let go. To learn more, click here:
Bill would give Legislative Inspector General more authority in investigations
The Legislative Inspector General is a position that is overseen by a partisan group of legislators who make up the Legislative Ethics Commission. The Inspector General must get permission to launch most of her investigations and she has very little independence.
House Bill 2575 would change that and give the Legislative Inspector General greater ability to be more independent. It is a total conflict of interest to have legislators deciding what information gets released about their colleagues and what investigations are allowed and which ones are not. The Legislative Inspector General should be truly independent.
Vacant properties costing taxpayers
Last year, taxpayers in Illinois paid just over $1.7 million simply to maintain vacant properties.
Part of the problem is that state law requires property to be sold for fair market value, which makes it difficult for the state to unload these properties. There is a bill in the Senate (SB 60) to address these issues but until the law is changed, taxpayers will continue to have pay to maintain buildings the state no longer needs and no longer uses.
This is just another example of the mismanagement of our state and our resources. Instead of spending money on buildings we no longer need and use – let’s put money and resources toward our state parks and other resources that people actually want and actually use.
Illinois General Assembly
For Immediate Release Contact: Rep. Halbrook
February 17, 2021
Rep. Halbrook Says Pritzker Budget Based on Non-existent Revenues and Tax Increases is a Non-Starter
Shelbyville…State Representative Brad Halbrook today said Governor Pritzker’s proposed Fiscal Year 2022 State budget again relies on non-existent revenues and tax increases. Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) said he considers the plan a non-starter.
“As Yogi Berra said it’s ‘Déjà vu all over again’,” Halbrook said. “Last year, the Governor made a bad budget situation worse by basing his spending plan on an ill-advised tax increase that voters across the state overwhelmingly rejected. This week, he is again proposing spending based on money we don’t have and tax increases that will hurt families and businesses.”
Governor Pritzker today introduced a $41.588 billion proposed spending plan that relies on $41.708 billion in state revenues, including roughly $1.5 billion in additional revenues that are currently not provided for under state law. Additionally, the Governor’s budget proposal contains nearly $1 billion in new taxes on job creators across Illinois he plans to achieve by rescinding vital business reforms he negotiated with Republicans two years ago.
“The revenue increases he is proposing are just another attempt for him to raise taxes on hundreds of thousands of small businesses who are already in trouble thanks to an entire year of his rule by executive order,” Halbrook said. “The message was clear when voters overwhelmingly rejected the progressive tax increase…this is not what the people of Illinois want. I will continue to fight for taxpayers, demand a balanced budget, and hold the Democrat majority and Governor Pritzker accountable.”
Springfield businessman and lawyer becomes the first downstate chairman since 1988.
State Representatives Wilhour, Halbrook, Caulkins, Miller, Niemerg: Tracy party chairman victory a win for conservatives.
For Immediate Release
Feb. 6, 2021
Contact Travis Akin
Beecher City, IL- State Representatives Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City), Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville), Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur), Chris Miller (R-Oakland) and Adam Niemerg R-Dieterich) are issuing the following statement on the election of Don Tracy as Illinois Republican Chairman.
"Despite some news reports, Don Tracy is Chairman of the Illinois Republican party because several of the most conservative legislators in the state who represent the areas with the most weighted vote were involved and backed him.
We talked directly with Tracy and supported him based on his commitment to continuing to engage working families and support the values of working people.
This isn't a Trump or anti-Trump deal. It's about putting the Republican Party in the best position to win by speaking to the middle class and working class families in Illinois who have disproportionately shouldered the burden of poor policies from our state's one-party rule for far too long.
We have been and will continue to be engaged in this process, and we look forward to working with Chairman Tracy. Make no mistake about it- the election of Don Tracy as State Party Chairman is a big win for conservatives.
House Republican legislators form new legislative group to advance reform agenda
May 21, 2020
For Immediate Release
Springfield, IL – The lack of meaningful action to address the state’s financial woes has prompted a group of legislators to create the Illinois Taxpayer Freedom Caucus that will operate within the House Republican Caucus. Their primary focus will be promotion of the structural and ethical reforms Illinois desperately needs.
Members of the Taxpayer Freedom Caucus include Representatives John Cabello (R-Machesney Park); Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford); Blaine Wilhour (R-Effingham); Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur); Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville); Chris Miller (R-Oakland); Allen Skillicorn (R-Crystal Lake); Darren Bailey (R-Xenia); Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport); David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills); Amy Grant (R-Wheaton); Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro); Randy Freese (R-Quincy); Dave Severin (R-Benton); Tom Morrison (R-Palatine); Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa); Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis); Dan Swanson (R-Alpha); Charlie Meier (R-Okawville); and Tony McCombie (R-Savanna).
The members of the IL Taxpayer Freedom Caucus are issuing the following statement:
“There is a growing number of legislators who are tired of the business as usual politics that is bankrupting our state. We have major fiscal issues and structural imbalances that stifle our ability to grow, create jobs and aggressively utilize our many natural advantages.
We need to do more than just tinker with a few policies. We need to transform how our government works.
The Democrat party in Illinois is too unaccountable. The lack of a proper check on their influence has resulted in an agenda that is extreme, one-sided and renders vast regions of our state powerless.
The current political operations in Illinois have shown that they are unwilling to meaningfully address these imbalances in a way that is sustainable for the future.
Spending reform, economic growth, and ethical government are the answers to our problems. Enacting policies that allow our economy to grow and dealing with our major budgetary and debt drivers in a way that is fair to all taxpayers is our only pathway to economic prosperity and stability in Illinois.
The pandemic has exposed the failure of the current economic policies in Illinois. If we had taken the proper steps to control spending, reform our structural imbalances, and eliminate the influence peddling in our government, we would be in a much better position to deal with these emergencies and our children and grandchildren would not be burdened with an endlessly oppressive tax system.
This caucus intends to work within the Republican Caucus to present honest assessments and provide realistic solutions. We acknowledge that at this point, none of the answers are easy or popular but we were sent to Springfield to deal with the real issues. “
The Caucus will meet this week and elect officers.
Monday 3.16.20 6:00am
Yesterday on Sunday 3.15.20, Gov. Pritzker issued a press release ordering the closure of Restaurants and Bars at the close of business today. I have been in communication with the Govenor's office about this. Additionally I have communicated via phone or text message with eating establishment owners from across the district.
At the time, we do not have a copy of the Executive Order (EO) however we anticipate seeing it very soon. I like you have many questions, what are the details, what authority does the governor have to exercise these powers, what is the enforcement, and the list goes on.
My #1 priority is the health and safety of our families, these circumstances are very serious. I believe that we must have the facts about the seriousness of COVID-19 at the same time understanding the seriousness and impacts to shut down the restaurant industry to the extent that the governor is proposing.
At this time I am urging restaurant owners to continue to serve their customer's as they always have, to put into practice the health and safety recommendations form the CDC, IDPH & local health departments. To take common sense approaches to ensure the health & safety of their clientele. At the same time, I and our team will dig into this issue and disseminate the info as it becomes available.
As always, feel free to contact me @217.774.1306 or [email protected]
I am proud to report that I have been selected to serve as an Alternative Delegate for our President Donald Trump to the Republican National Convention next year.
If you support the President and want to see him re-elected next year, then I hope you'll download a copy of the President's delegate petition and ask a few of your friends to sign it and then mail it back to me at Citizens for Brad Halbrook PO Box 644, Shelbyville IL, 62565
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You’ve probably heard the talking point that downstate gets more money back from the state when compared to Chicago, so we should all just sit down, be quiet, and thank Chicago. I won’t sit down. And I won’t be quiet. Hear my take from an interview I did on Capitol Connection.